I'm considering doing an original challenge that (at of right now) consists of golfed solutions in the languages C, Python, Jelly, Javascript, 05AB1E, Pyth, PHP, MATL.

The challenge is to look at the golfed code and figure out what the intended challenge was.

I think it could be a very interesting challenge, depending on the complexity of the intended challenge, but I fear that once someone figures out the solution (the intended challenge), the challenge is dead for everybody else, and that just makes it a challenge, which is not what I want.

I would very much like any feedback on this type of challenge - would people be interested in doing this?

(The reason this isn't posted in the sandbox is because it's a completely new type of challenge, and I'm not sure that comments are the best way to provide feedback to this type of challenge)

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I like the idea, but I'm concerned that running the code will be more effective than trying to decipher what the code is actually doing. \$\endgroup\$
    – xnor
    Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 9:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @xnor but that might not help you in figuring out the challenge. If you run the code and it outputs 21 how will you know what that means? \$\endgroup\$
    – Daniel
    Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 10:20
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ The code would take input, right? I'd try it for lots of inputs and try to puzzle out a relationship. It might still not be obvious, but nevertheless doable without analyzing the code. \$\endgroup\$
    – xnor
    Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 10:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @xnor I think this strategy can be defeated by choosing a challenge that has many assumptions about the input, or arrays with a specific shape, etc. \$\endgroup\$
    – feersum
    Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 21:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Daniel are you still planning on doing this? If not, I'd love to post a challenge based on this in the sandbox. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 17:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NathanMerrill I would love it if you did it. I think I need to work a lot more on my submission - can't wait to see yours :)! \$\endgroup\$
    – Daniel
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 17:34

2 Answers 2


Do it as a Cops n Robbers

You'll need the following:

  1. I wouldn't limit the language to those, but rather those with an Esolang page, or on wikipedia's list of languages. The language, however, must be specified by the cop.

  2. I recommend explicitly saying that you must write your own submission

  3. The challenge they choose must have a positive score and not be closed

  4. The robber needs to find any challenge that the submission solves.

Then, if you have your own code you want people to solve, you can simply add it!

  • \$\begingroup\$ So this would be a generalization of Programming Language Quiz. That was already a decent difficulty level for robbers, so free choice of challenge might seem to give too much advantage to cops. On the other hand, robbers may be able to generate cracks by finding an extremely simple challenge instead of the cop's intended one. \$\endgroup\$
    – feersum
    Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 21:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Another possibility would be that the cops are required to disclose the challenge. \$\endgroup\$
    – feersum
    Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 21:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ The language would need to be disclosed \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 22:28
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Ah, so it's the inverse of Programming Language Quiz: instead of known challenge and unknown language, this would be known language and unknown challenge. \$\endgroup\$
    – DLosc
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 19:51
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Would this lead to very slow code that makes it impractical to run it against many inputs? (Not necessarily a bad thing - just wondering.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 22:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Would the challenges be limited to code-golf? Or could the answer be a "solution" to a KOTH or something? \$\endgroup\$
    – mbomb007
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 15:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think that is up to the OP \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 16:14

Cops and robbers?

people post a question, people post the answers.

In this way, the challenge does not die immediately, and has a reasonable amount of time to it


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